Adgully Exclusive | Rakshabandhan the festival of brother-sister is now marketers delight!

India is synonymous to strong familial ties, large appetites and festivity, and the point at which all these elements merge is the festival of Raksha Bandhan. This festival originated in the Indus Valley Civilization about 6000 years back. The festival signifies the importance of sister-brother relationship in the Indian culture. The word "Raksha' signifies protection, while the word "Bandhan' means a sort of bond. So the festival celebrates the bond between a brother and sister, where the sister looks upon her brother for protection. Though the thought instills a feeling of seeing women as the fairer sex and India is indeed a patriarchal society, but Raksha Bandhan celebrates the innocent bond of love and affection that a brother and sister share. Usually it takes place in late August, and this year too the festival will be celebrated on the 24th of August, 2010.

Raksha Bandhan has been referred to in many stories and epic tales, Lord Krishna and Draupadi, King Bali and Godess Laxmi, have all exchanged the scared thread for a promise to be protected. The festival was originally celebrated in the North Indian regions, but slowly the celebrations have been accepted, modified and localized across the nation.

The festival was marked by a small ritual of the sister tying the colourful thread on to her brother's wrist and then the brother would gift the sister a small amount of money followed by a good family lunch. In short a festival that recognized the simplicity of Indian rituals combined with a perfect gustatory orgasm. However, now right from the colorful rakhis to the sweets and to the gifts everything comes for a price and with a tag; today a family not only sits together for a "good' lunch, but sits together around a TV for lunch. No other nation in the world celebrates the bond between a sister and a brother, the festival is exclusive to India, and realizing this factor the marketers and promoters have started using unique ways to catch the watchful eyes of every "brother' and "sister'.

From "Behen ne rakhi bandhi, Bhai tu chir jug jee" to "Kuch meetha ho jaye!"

The exclusive Raksha Bandhan marketing and promotional activities to catch the right attention can be observed across various media platforms and even more varied list of product categories. A music channel like 9XM has started a "Rocking Rakhi' contest that will allow viewers to SMS BROTHER to 556644 and a few lucky ones will receive Bade-Chote rakhis which are specially made by the women at National Association of Blind.

Moreover, websites like and have also geared up for the big occasion. While has designed a special rakhi page that will enable buying Rakhis and gifts and also sending across Rakhis to USA with a special discount on courier charges, has designed a special gift catalogue that provides deals on brands like Nokia, Buzz, Nikon, Sony Ericson etc. Talking about the idea of creating an exclusive gift catalogue for Raksha Bandhan, Arindam Bose, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer, timtara, said, "There has been a dramatic shift in demand for Rakshabandhan gifts. Today, people want variety, choice, best deals and convenience all at one go. We at timtara, believe in offering 360o delight factor to our consumers throughout and have created our Rakshabandhan package with gifting options that would fulfill the needs for both brothers and sisters across the nation."

From offering great deals there are exclusive product categories associated with women that have come out with unique packaging and promotion of their products for Raksha Bandhan. Barbie- the brand that manufactures very-widely liked Barbie dolls and Barbie merchandise like school bags, tiffin boxes, stationery etc. is promoting its Barbie Fashion Combo Giftset as a part of their Raksha Bandhan promotional activity.

Modicare is promoting its exclusive range of Essensual 20 products that includes Nourishing Day Gel Cream for Oily to Combination Skin, Nourishing Day Cream for Dry to Sensitive skin, Maxi Length Mascara and Make up Remover. On the other hand Ethos Swiss Watch Studios is offering all the leading brands of watches across its chain of retail outlets. Commenting on the offer Yashovardhan Saboo, CEO, Ethos Swiss Watch Studios said, "Rakhi is the confluence of true and perfect feelings of siblings, and watches can be a perfect gift to express love. You may pamper your brother or sister with a stylish new watch and make them feel special."

While the rakhi and gifts have been taken care of, the important element of good food hasn't been able to escape the marketer's eye. In a unique way to complement the Indian appetite, Baskin and Robbins has introduced a new flavor 'Kaju Draksh, while Pillsbury is trying to promote its Cooker Cake Mix, a rather western offering, to add "a personal touch this Raksha Bandhan"

The festival though commodified has opened up new avenues in terms of marketing and promotional activities. The era has arrived of rakhis, sweets, gifts and food that echo the catchy ad jingle and come with tags reading familiarity to brands. The festival that symbolizes protection clearly has not been able to protect itself from the process of commercialization and commodification.| By Prabha Hegde [prabha(at)]


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